A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 13, 2009
Bubbemycin or Bubbe-mycin (Jewish chicken soup)

Chicken soup, according to some Jewish grandmothers, can cure what ails you. The nickname “Jewish penicillin” has been used for chicken soup since the 1960s.

Chicken soup is also called “bubbemycin” (or “bubbe-mycin” or “bubba-mycin"). “Bubbe” (or “bubba") is the Yiddish name for “grandmother,” known for the “bubbe meiseh” ("grandmother’s story” or “old wive’s tale"). E-Mycin is an antibiotic often used to fight the cold and flu.

“Bubbemycin” (for “chicken soup") is a popular joke term told in Yiddish-speaking households, but the term is not used outside the Jewish community.


The Free Dictionary
Noun
E-Mycin - an antibiotic (trade name Erythrocin or E-Mycin or Ethril or Ilosone or Pediamycin) obtained from the actinomycete Streptomyces erythreus; effective against many Gram-positive bacteria and some Gram-negative

Jewish Word Spelling Guide
bubbe meiseh lit.=grandmother’s story: old-wive’s tale

26 March 1990, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, “Dr. Mom Was Right About Chicken Soup” by Lynn Williams, food, pg. 3F:
... bestowing such names as ‘’Jewish penicillin’’ and ‘’bubbe-mycin,’’ chicken soup is revered all over the globe for its salubrious medical effects.

Google Books
Multicultural manners: new rules of etiquette for a changing society
By Norine Dresser
Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons
1996
Pg. 81:
Jewish mothers and grandmothers have long been associated with chicken soup, affectionately known as “Jewish penicillin” or “bubbamycin.”

Google Groups: bit.listserv.down-syn
Newsgroups: bit.listserv.down-syn
From: Len Leshin
Date: 1996/09/08
Subject: Len’s Medical Stuff #7: Influenza

Chicken soup (Bubbemycin) is highly recommended for the flu unless vomiting is present; then, stay away from all soups.

Google Groups: alt.folklore.urban
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
From: (Kevin D. Quitt)
Date: 1999/03/16
Subject: Re: Non-Gender Specific Pronouns

And there use to be a joke that the active ingredient in chicken soup was bubbamycin (a ‘bubbamysa’ - how ever you spell it - is the yiddish word for “old wives’ tale).  It turns out chicken soup actually has a decongestant in it!

The Supreme Court Jester
Saturday, October 4, 2008
China--Three Gorgeous Damn Stories
Here’s a spicy triple Chinese delight for you--three stories about China--more or less.

Giant Pandas Order Out from that Menu slipped under the Door of their Cage Dept.

Giant pandas crave chicken soup it has been reported by the AP and others (292,000 Google hits for the search “panda and chicken soup” this Saturday AM). It was recently fed to them to reduce stress according to the multitude of stories about their slurping what carries the moniker Jewish Penicillin, also known as the wonder drug bubbe-mycin. 

QueenOnline Message Board
Re: We Believe Cold-Bottomed Mayniacs Still Glitter! (Ha-ha)
by Isolde Jane Holland on Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:07 pm
(...)
I thought of you a little while ago, Char, when I was talking to Dr Samuelson and he told me that when he was little and had cold/flu his grandmother would make him chicken soup and she called it ‘bubbemycin’ !!

Heritage Florida Jewish News
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28 (2009—ed.)
(...)
Hadassah of Williamsburg—General meeting at the Lake Ridge Clubhouse at 1 p.m. Program: “Bubbamycin” by Harriet Weiss. Entertainment books will be sold, orders will be taken for mah-jongg cards, refreshments will be served. Info: Paula, 407-238-0102; Esther, 407-354-5495. 

New York (NY) Times
March 12, 2009, 5:07 pm
Soup’s On! (And It’s Not Your Grandmother’s)
By Jennifer 8. Lee
Do the Jews have a claim on chicken soup?

A mock court once thought so, ruling that chicken soup deserved the title of “Jewish penicillin.” (The opposing side argued that the soup belonged to everyone, and that Greeks, Italians and Chinese could all claim to use chicken soup in time of illness.)

And chicken soup may actually indeed have elixir-type properties for a cold (not just the soul). A 2000 study found that chicken soup (a recipe passed down from a Lithuanian grandmother) inhibited the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection, which may reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
(...)
COMMENTS
March 12, 2009
5:37 pm
A friend once described chicken soup as an antibiotic known as “bubbemycin”.
— Helen

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, March 13, 2009 • Permalink